Hilgardia
Hilgardia
Hilgardia
University of California
Hilgardia

Improving pumping plant efficiency does not always save energy

Author

Blaine R. Hanson

Author Affiliations

B.R. Hanson is Extension Irrigation and Drainage Specialist, Department of Land, Air and Water Resources, UC Davis.

Publication Information

Hilgardia 56(4):123-127. DOI:10.3733/ca.v056n04p123. July 2002.

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Abstract

California's energy crisis in 2001 resulted in a state-funded program for testing irrigation pumps and improving pumping plant efficiency, with the goal of reducing energy use in California agriculture. Yet in reality, improving pumping plant efficiency may not actually translate into savings. To reduce electrical energy use, the kilowatt-hours must decrease because of fewer kilowatts or less operating time, or both. In order to evaluate the efficiency of various energy-improving adjustments, we studied several operations at pumping plants in the San Joaquin Valley. These included adjusting impellers, repairing worn pumps, replacing mismatched pumps and using more energy-efficient motors. We found that adjusting or repairing worn pumps may actually increase energy use, unless the operating time of the pumping plant is reduced. Multiple pump tests of a pumping plant are recommended, to help evaluate possible reasons for low efficiency. Pumping plant operators should also obtain the manufacturer's performance curves to use in the evaluation process.

References

Hanson BR. Benefits and costs of improving pumping efficiency. Cal Ag. 1988. 42(4):21-2.

Hanson BR. Irrigation Pumping Plants. UC DANR Pub 3377 2000. p.126.

Hanson BR, Schwankl LJ. Water turbulence disrupts accuracy of some flow meters. Cal Ag. 1998. 52(1):25-30.

Hanson B. 2002. Improving pumping plant efficiency does not always save energy. Hilgardia 56(4):123-127. DOI:10.3733/ca.v056n04p123
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